Hot electron generation forming a steep interface in superintense laser-matter interaction

Mishra, R.; Sentoku, Y.; Kemp, A. J.
November 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Nov2009, Vol. 16 Issue 11, p112704
Academic Journal
Superintense laser light (>1020 W/cm2) is able to sweep the preplasma over short times and compress the preplasma density gradient typically generated by the prepulse of today’s high-intensity, high energy laser systems. Hot electron generation at steep plasma density gradients has been studied in a previous paper [A. J. Kemp, Y. Sentoku, and M. Tabak, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 075004 (2008)], which identified a mode of hot electron acceleration that is characterized by the formation of low-density shelf in front of the target. In this paper, we deal with laser incidence on slab target in one-dimensional situation and follow the formation of a steep interface and hot electron acceleration up to later stages of the interaction. We find that a novel mode of absorption appears during which the coupling efficiency drops, while a large number of sub-MeV hot electrons is produced at the interface. These dc-ponderomotive electrons play a dominant role in the bulk heating of solid density targets. We propose an analytical model to describe this absorption mode, explain electron energy spectra, and identify the parameter regime where it appears.


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